Everflame by Dylan Lee Peters

Published: 29th July 2012Goodreads badge
Publisher: 
Self-published
Pages: 260
Format: Ebook
Genre: Fantasy
★   ★  – 2.5 Stars

Long ago, when the earth was young. . . Four ancient beings created man to be the bastion of the earth and its creatures. But when The Great Tyrant came and chased The Ancients away, the world was transformed into a place of fear and isolation. Over time humans lost the connection they had with a world they had been created to protect. Now, deep in the forests that surround Gray Mountain, two bears find a small child that is abandoned and left for dead. They name him Evercloud, and raise him as a member of their kingdom. Teaching him the secrets of the elders, they tell him of the ancient beings that created man and the rumors of their return. Evercloud must now go on a quest to return The Ancients to power. However, in another corner of the land, a man known only as The Messenger travels the land under a white hood, on a mission to prevent the return of The Ancients. We follow the paths each of these men take until their stories collide in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

The story begins with an opening paragraph that grabs your attention about a bear who is a king, raising a human child as his son. From there it becomes a story about ancient legends, fantasy, mysticism and faith, and trying to bring peace between the bears and the human world.

The plot is not confusing so much as complicated, with many different elements quite substantially introduced early on. Back stories and pieces of information are given with long and detailed side stories before the main narrative kicks off, and throughout there are clear and obvious moments of exposition that are more tell than show.

These are not boring exactly, but they are long and excessive, and often added questions than answered them, especially concerning the bear society and the bear themselves. A lot of information is given about the Kingdom but key elements like how bears can both act like bears but also have a human-like society with commerce, construction, writing etc is left unexplained.

Characters are slightly flat, but they have enough history and depth as the story needs them to have, and some have much more than others. And even though you can grasp a bit of their personality based on interaction and dialogue, I never really connected with them, or cared much about them.

The bears have raised Evercloud well; he is smart, determined, doesn’t seem to have any Tarzan-like issues about fitting in with a society of bears. There isn’t even much of a “discovering my own species” part of the story. Evercloud manages quite fine when he meets humans for the first time which seemed strange, and while astonished at first, he adjusts quickly, not even perplexed by the women, just the usual cliché infatuation with a pretty girl. Understandably, men look like variations of himself, but having been raised by bears who have no real differences, he has no apparent issue or confusion with the other sex.

There is a bit of violence, human and animal alike, which when it first appears comes as a blunt shock having read through so many chapters of pleasantries and life with the bears. To be thrust into another side story with sudden and brutal violence is a shock, and in a way it does move the story on, but the sudden switch was a surprise, and one that immediately changes the age range possibilities. The violence continues sporadically through the remainder of the novel, not as detailed or brutal as before, but there all the same.

There are also a lot of coincidences that help move the story along, whether cliché or deus ex machina, which help out Evercloud and the others. But by the time they come along you just expect it, that’s the kind of story it is, everything goes along well with one a few bumps and troubles on the way that instantly have a solution.

It wasn’t all mediocre, the information was interesting, Peters has good timing in revealing new snippets and twists, even small ones, and the structure was good, just a bit heavy with the exposition. A good idea poorly executed. There is a cliff hanger of sorts, Peters finishes the novel nicely in that it adds a new element of surprise and revelations, and also concludes the current story before tempting your interest to get into the second.

Overall the story is likeable and the idea is sound, but there are a fair few things that stand out as you read that make it hard to immerse yourself fully. The problems lay in the construction and execution with grammatical issues, characters you can’t really connect with or care much about, and a story that is curious at best, but not really pulling you through the pages with interest. If you ignore the holes, the few implausible and far-fetched aspects, and the writing doesn’t bother you, it is a nice little fantasy.

You can purchase Everflame via the following

Kindle
Nook
iBooks
Paperback
Hardcover

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